CMAT Withdraws from Latitude Festival Due to Barclays Sponsorship

CMAT, the pop singer who was nominated for album of the year at the recent Ivor Novello Awards, has announced that she will be pulling out of the Latitude Festival in Suffolk. This decision comes as a form of protest against the event being sponsored by Barclays Bank, following a similar move made by over 100 artists at Brighton’s Great Escape Festival in May.

Campaigners have criticized Barclays for increasing its investments in arms companies that trade with Israel during the ongoing conflict in Gaza. In response, CMAT stated, “I will not allow my precious work, my music, which I love so much, to get into bed with violence.”

Barclays, on the other hand, acknowledged the human suffering in Gaza but clarified that they do not make direct investments in companies that supply defense products. However, CMAT, whose real name is Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson, expressed her disappointment in Latitude Festival for not finding an alternative sponsor despite her request.

Welsh singer Georgia Ruth has also withdrawn from the festival, echoing the sentiment that Barclays’ involvement in the arms trade should be challenged. This stance was inspired by Charlotte Church, who recently boycotted the Hay literary festival due to one of its principal sponsors, Baillie Gifford, being linked to companies associated with the Israeli military and settlements in the West Bank.

The festival organizers at Hay eventually ended their sponsorship deal with Baillie Gifford, highlighting the impact of artists taking a stand against such partnerships. Ruth emphasized the power of effective boycotts in bringing about change and called on Latitude Festival to reconsider its affiliation with Barclays.

As the situation unfolds, the BBC has reached out to Latitude Festival for their response to these concerns.